Food and beverage sales at The National Trust are now worth more than £80m to the charity for the first time, it can be revealed.
Catering is now the second largest income generator, behind membership fees, for the organisation, which runs more than 300 historic properties around the UK.
A breakdown of the charity’s finances – sent to members ahead of its AGM next month – shows that F&B generated £80.6m in sales for the 2018/19, up from £76.2m the year before.
The additional £4m raised from F&B represents an increase of almost 6% and means that the organisation banks around 13% of its total income from its cafes and kitchens.
Last year The National Trust announced plans for an ambitious programme of improvements to facilities, including its cafes and catering operations, in response to record-breaking visitor numbers.
Around £20m will be spent on average each year, over the next five years, on expanding, improving and upgrading facilities as well as tackling a backlog of repairs to farm buildings, homes and modernising holiday cottages.
Visitor numbers have grown from just 270,000 in the 1970s to an historic high of 26.6 million last year. And the number of members joining the Trust has rocketed by over one million in just five years, to hit a record 5.2 million.
The National Trust continues to look at ways of improving its catering offer. At its first ever F&B festival for catering staff last year, it focused on the importance of sustainable food, grown with care.
Those in attendance had the chance to learn about working with kitchen gardens, reducing wastage and the relationship between the food served to millions of visitors.
The National Trust serves 3.5 million cups of tea every year, made from a bespoke blend of Clipper tea.
Up to 75% of food produced in cafes is made fresh, on site, every day. In many cases the food is grown on-site in kitchen gardens, or supplied through tenant farmers.